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J Aust Popul Assoc. 1989 May;6(1):1-17.

Who's producing the next generation? The parentage of Australian children.



Researchers from the Australian National Unverisity in Canberra studied data from the 1981 Census Households Sample File to determine who is bearing Australia's children. The majority of children (approximately 80%) lived in a nuclear (or step) family with a mother who has been married only once. As for children who had teenage mothers, the highest proportion resided with never married mothers either as a single parent family or in a de facto nuclear family. Further, with an increase of age of mothers came a decrease in the proportions of children living outside of a nuclear (or step) family situation. In 1981, the younger the age group the higher the percentage who stopped their education at = or 16 years old: 30-34 year olds = 51%; 25-29 year olds = 63%; and 20-24 year olds = 71%. The more education women had the less likely they were to be mothers, but, if they were mothers, their children were more likely to live in a stable nuclear family than those of less educated women. For example, in the 25-29 and 30-34 age groups, 85% of the children of the better educated women lived in a nuclear family with a mother who was once married. Even though a trend of increasing participation of married women in the labor force existed in 1981, mothers of 60-80% of young children either did not work or worked part time. As the age of the children cohorts increased, however, researchers witnessed a corresponding increase in the proportion of mothers who worked. Religious belief and worship attendance were associated with family stability and nuclear family environments, but almost 75% of children of mothers claiming no religion lived in a nuclear family. In conclusion, despite Australia's below replacement fertility, Australians who had children tend to have traditional attitudes towards child rearing, such as raising children in a nuclear family with married parents and spending time with their children.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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